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Graduate programs - is it worth it?

#1 Graduate programs - is it worth it?
31/01/2009 12:08


This might be the wrong time to complain when millions are losing jobs but just as companies are taking measures to be in a safe position when the economy recovers, shouldnt young employees think about their career as well?

I joined the graduate program at a Big 4 with high hopes, 1.5 years ago, and looking back (or rather looking forward) to see what skills I can offer a prospective future employer, I really cannot name anything more than MS Office and admin skills. Yeah, I know its not the same with everybody, some who joined along with me have had excellent opportunities and have really gained a lot of skills but the bottomline is thats not the case for everybody. My aim was to work for 2-3 years and then leave for another company, probably an industry where I can have a sane work-life balance.

Is there anybody out there who echoes my thoughts or am I on my own? Is there somebody out there who has any sensible advice to give? Does it make sense to stick on to achieve the 2-3 year Big 4 experience tag on your CV or is it better to move on (if there are any vacancies anywhere in the world) and work in an area that interests you? Though my firm has a strong practice in the field I am interested in, it is really difficult to be get on to the right projects now with many people on the bench and I have been advised to stick on to whatever I have now so as to meet utilisation targets. I care more about my career and development and not about the firm meeting its targets.

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#2 RE: Graduate programs - is it worth it?
31/01/2009 12:14

anon to xXx (#1)

Hey, I joined a grad prog 6 months ago and this is exactly how I feel! Am I normal or being unrealistic?

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#3 RE: Graduate programs - is it worth it?
31/01/2009 16:17

anon to xXx (#1)

After a year and a bit, I feel exactly the same. Many people in my intake feel exactly the same. It appears that ambition alone cannot always get you to the places that you want to reach. You also need a lot of luck as to what projects you are assigned and who is in your team.

The only thing giving me some comfort is that future employers will lapp up the company name and never actually consider as to whether I have learnt anything that will warrant an associate role!

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#4 RE: Graduate programs - is it worth it?
31/01/2009 19:44

anon to xXx (#1)

This is a common complaint with "graduate programmes" (both Big4 consultancies' and those in industry). However, it's difficult for fresh graduates to understand until they've seen it with their own eyes.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the effect of the Big4 pushing into administrative and highly outsourced work has been that clients in industry have a much more acute sense of the difference between consultants and contractors. They, and their recruitment agents, nowadays know how to probe the quality of consulting hires and pay accordingly.

There are a couple of choices. You can stick with it until you get lucky/create some luck with getting onto good projects. Or you can quit and start over, using your experience to make a better choice of employer. A couple of years is nothing in the context of your life and career, plus you have earnings and work experience to your credit.

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#5 RE: Graduate programs - is it worth it?
01/02/2009 13:23

Green Dotter to anon (#4)

I'm 5 months in with the Green Dot. I agree with the above - a lot of it comes down to luck. I'm lucky enough to be on a good project, but I know a lot of friends who are excel and powerpoint monkeys. From what I've gathered so far, networking (and networking hard, despite it being the thing I hate most) seems to be pretty much the only way you'll find a good project to get on. Just my two cents on the matter.

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